When you’re a professional athlete, the approval of your teammates on the field is just as important as the approval of the fans. In that sense, Ha-Sung Kim (28, San Diego Padres) is amazing. He’s made a name for himself on the world’s biggest stage, and he’s stolen the hearts of ace after ace.
Alyson Edmunds of San Diego’s Cush Sports posted an interview with ace Blake Snell on her personal social media account on June 6 (KST), which caught our attention. “Snell said of Kim, ‘I love Ha Sung Kim, he’s one of my favorite players behind Ichiro Suzuki and Cane Griffey Jr,'” Edmunds wrote.
Snell has been the team’s ace this season. As a pitcher, he naturally gets a lot of help from the outfield. In particular, he owes a lot to Kim Ha-seong, who has been a key part of the team’s infield defense.
Last year, Kim finished in the final two for the National League Gold Glove shortstop award, thanks to his solid defense. This year, with the acquisition of Xander Bogaerts, he’s primarily playing second base, but his steady defense has taken a lot of pressure off pitchers.
He leads the league in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), a key defensive metric, and leads all second basemen in Out Above Average (OAA).
Snell isn’t the only one who’s been singing Kim’s praises lately, as San Diego head coach Bob Melvin recently did. Kim made his first start against the Los Angeles Angels on May 5 and made an exceptional defensive play reminiscent of a goalie.
With two outs in the top of the fourth inning, he hit a hard line drive toward first base off Mike Moustakas. The ball hit the glove of first baseman Jake Cronenwirth, who made a sliding catch, and headed toward second baseman Ha-Sung Kim. Kim was caught in the act, but he chased the ball down and made the out. He made the catch with his bare hands like a goalie and threw to first base to end the game. The home fans roared in Petco Park.
In the top of the ninth inning, Taylor Ward’s bunt was hit with a lot of spin, but Kim caught it and threw to first for the final out. He was able to keep the ball in play to preserve the victory and secure the 8-5 win for his team.온라인카지노
“I think he’s the best defender in the big leagues,” Melvin told MLB.com after the game, “and a lot of the numbers he puts up prove it. It was a tremendous play to end the game. Not many players can make a play like that,” he said, giving him a thumbs-up.
Overshadowed by his defense is his offense. Sure, it’s league average, but it’s not easy to produce this kind of offensive production while playing every position in the infield except first base. In 83 games this year, Kim is batting .254 (68-for-268) with 10 home runs, 31 RBI, 15 doubles, and a .752 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage), putting him on pace for career highs in every major offensive metric.
Kim’s offensive prowess has earned him the respect of his manager and ace. He’s fit in perfectly as a member of the San Diego team. As he continues to improve with each game, fans are excited to see what he can do this season.